TSA begins testing drone detection technology at MIA

The tests will determine an effective solution that mitigates the risks posed by unauthorised UAS operations 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun initial testing of surveillance technologies at Miami International Airport that will detect, track, and identify (DTI) drones entering restricted airspace.  

The examinations will be carried out in collaboration with the airport, local law enforcement, and intra-agency partners including the DHS Science & Technology Directorate (S&T). 

Data collected from the equipment will then be shared with the interagency and industry stakeholders for further evaluation and assessment.  

Miami International Airport
Photo MIA

While many drones are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) software that prevents their use in restricted locations, there are many operators who do not follow these regulations – presenting a significant danger to individuals, infrastructure and aircraft. 

“The UAS threat to airports has increased exponentially over the last several years, which is why it is vital we begin assessing the effectiveness of UAS DTI technologies in live airport environments,” said Jim Bamberger, TSA’s counter-UAS capability manager. “We are thrilled to partner with MIA on such a mission critical project that will pave the way for future technology assessments and help protect airports nationwide against UAS threats. 

Miami International (MIA) was selected as the first UAS DTI testbed due to its ongoing perimeter intrusion technology pilot, as well as the strong existing partnership between the two organisations. 

Ralph Cutié, MIA’s interim director, added: “We are extremely proud to be chosen by TSA for this landmark test of drone detection technology, which will reap unprecedented security benefits for MIA and our sister airports across the country. We look forward to bolstering our strong partnership with TSA through this new initiative, as we continue to advance our shared priority of enhancing the safety and security of our passengers, employees and business partners.”